“Roll it over the net, roll it over the top,” Moriarty High School volleyball coach Kim Bell instructed a group of girls at her summer skills camp. “Toss it higher!”
Bell, who’s been Moriarty’s head varsity volleyball coach for 17 years, has been hosting a youth summer skills camp for 16 of those years.
This summer’s camp ran Aug. 6-8 at the school’s auxiliary gym and was attended by 40-45 middle school-aged girls.
“I think it’s good for the younger kids to have exposure to the sport,” Bell said. “There’s not a lot of volleyball available for them.”
The camp focused heavily on the fundamentals of the sport: passing, serving, setting, and hitting.
Bell also used several unique drills to teach basic concepts—including one that had the girls tossing tennis balls over the net.
“They love those little games, and there’s great value in visuals,” Bell said. “When they have a visual aid that helps them make the connection of a particular skill, they remember it—and that makes it fun.”
Stephany Baca, an eighth-grader at Moriarty Middle School who has played some club volleyball and now wants to try out for her school’s team, was one of the campers.
“It was really fun and I learned a lot,” Baca said. “It reminded me what I need to do, like where my hands should be facing.”
Caroline Bell, a 13-year-old and coach Bell’s niece, said this was her second camp. Caroline said the camp always gives her the opportunity to make friends and learn the importance of having a good relationship with her teammates, adding, “I love volleyball—it’s so much fun!”
Coach Bell said she could see noticeable improvement in the participants over the course of the three-day camp.
Bell also uses her varsity players as camp helpers. She believes that is an important opportunity for them to work on their leadership skills.
“It’s good for our returning high school girls to mentor these younger girls and to put out that energy,” Bell said.
Bell noted that volleyball has become the most popular girls sport in the fall, and she wants to help fuel that popularity.
“I think they like the idea of volleyball, but they don’t know it very well yet,” Bell said. “This shows them that it’s a fun option—and I like to see the young kids dream of being a Pinto, I think it helps.”